Korean Food 101: Kimbap

Learn to make homemade kimbap

What is Kimbap? It’s basically a korean sushi roll. The fillings for the rolls are usually all cooked. The rice is flavored with sesame oil and salt, unlike Japanese Sushi which is seasoned with vinegar.

My in-laws taught me how to make this when I first married into the family. The prep is what takes up the most work, but with the right tools, rolling it up is pretty easy. Ok, so here we go, here’s our recipe for Kimbap!

Disclaimer: As with any of my in-laws’ cooking, the measurements here are estimations. You will have to do taste tests for most of the ingredients. The key is to start with less and then add more and more to taste.

All ingredients can be purchased in Asian/Korean Markets


– 2 to 4 cups of cooked short grained rice
– Seaweed for sushi (1 packet is a lot and you probably won’t use all of it)
– 1 to 3 tbsp of sesame oil
– salt to taste
– pickled yellow radish cut lengthwise (you can get this pre-cut from asian markets)
– 2 to 4 carrots
– 2 bunches of watercress
– Minced Garlic (or Garlic Powder)
– 2 to 4 eggs
– Fake Crab Meat (8 pieces)

– Sushi roller – bamboo mat

– Kimbap Ham cut lengthwise
– Flat Fish cakes
– Burdock Root (edible)

Prep Work

  1. Rice: Cook rice in rice cooker.  Prep all other ingredients while rice is cooking.  When everything else is prepare, and once the rice is cooked, take 3 cups of cooked rice and place in bowl. Season with 1-2 tbsp of sesame oil and salt to taste. A little goes a long way for the sesame oil by the way. So start with 1 tbsp and then build up if needed. Mix well. The rice should have a mild taste of sesame oil and salt so that it will not overpower the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Wash and dry all produce.
  3. Watercress: Boil enough water in a pot (enough to cover the watercress). Cut the stems of the watercress. Blanch it for 2-3 minutes in boiling water. Drain. Using the same pot, saute the watercress with a tsp of sesame oil, a tsp of minced garlic (or garlic powder to taste), and salt to taste. Drain. Set aside.
  4. Carrots: Peel the carrots. Use a mandoline with a teeth attachment to cut the carrots into long, thin pieces. Using the same pot used for the watercress, saute the carrots with a tsp of sesame oil, a tsp of minced garlic (or garlic powder to taste), and salt to taste. Drain. Set aside.
  5. Eggs: Scramble 2 eggs at a time in a bowl. Set the heat to medium-high for a non-stick pan. If you’re not confident that the eggs will not stick onto the pan, use cooking spray to lightly cover the pan. Pour the scrambled eggs on the pan. Don’t stir. Wait 1-2 minutes and flip the whole egg to cook the other side. Wait 30 seconds to 1 minute. Set aside to cool and cook the 2 other eggs the same way. When cool to touch, cut the eggs into long strips.
  6. Fish cakes and kimbap ham: These are usually cooked already but needs to be heated up. So heat them up using the same pan as the eggs. Once hot enough, set aside until it is cool enough to touch. Cut into long strips and set aside.
  7. Fake Crab Meat: Defrost (since it usually comes in frozen form).  You can run the wrapped package in room temperature tap water to make the process of defrosting faster if you want. Open the package and unwrap the individually packaged crab meat. Pull apart once, lengthwise. Set aside.
  8. Pickled Yellow Radish: Drain. Cut into long strips if not already cut. Set aside.

And that’s it for the preparation of the ingredients! Once you have everything ready and in place, you are ready to roll your kimbap!

Store bought kimbap have tons of rice in one roll. Our family likes to go easy on the rice and add more filling into it. We can eat more kimbap that way because the rice doesn’t fill us. If you do want the store-bought version, just add more rice and you’re good to go!

Rolling the Kimbap

  1. Lay all the ingredients within arms reach.
  2. Place 1 sheet of seaweed onto the bamboo sushi roller thingamajig with the shiny side down.
  3. Spread rice onto the seaweed. Make sure you get the edges of the seaweed sheet. You can put as much or as little rice you want into the middle of the sheet. I like to spread the rice out thinly because I know we like the fillings more than the rice.
  4. Lay all the fillings you want at one edge of the seaweed sheet.
  5. Roll the edge of the sheet around the fillings, then use the bamboo roller so that the pressure is even as you keep rolling the kimbap. Make sure you don’t roll the bamboo roller into the kimbap. You don’t want to eat that thing man. So roll, then pull the roller out, then roll again. Repeat process until you’ve rolled the whole kimbap. Since there is rice at the other edge of the sheet, it should easily stick and keep the kimbap roll closed.
  6. Cut the kimbap with a sharp knife so that you don’t squish the roll and voila! Eat it all up!

Storing the Kimbap

It’s important to note that kimbap tastes the best right after it’s made. Do not put leftover kimbaps in the fridge. It will harden the rice. Put the kimbap into containers and use saran wrap to lay over top of the kimbap. Close lid tightly and store in room temperature or if it’s a little chilly outside, put the container outdoors. Try to eat this by the next day because it doesn’t keep for too long!

Other Ingredients

You can put other ingredients in the kimbap. We’ve tried bulgogi (a sweet tasting thinly sliced, marinated beef), spinach, kalbi (marinated beef rib meat), and other veggies. Play around with it and see what you may like. You can do this! It’s delicious and it’s healthy depending on what you put in it. Good luck!


Thanks for reading and I hope you have an awesome rest of the day!



Author: Simplefficientmama

Lifestyle blogger, mom of two, lover of makeup and food and stuff that makes life easier or better

15 thoughts on “Korean Food 101: Kimbap”

  1. Awesome post! I would definitely try this recipe! Thanks for sharing ♥️ ♥️ By any chance you are interested on doing collaborations, you can check out the collaborations portal of Phlanx.com and connect with amazing brands!



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